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Healthy Bees Create Healthy Gardens

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EUGENE, Ore. — Along with warmer weather and spring flowers come the honey bees.

An effort is under way in Eugene to provide them with a healthy environment.

The honey bees are buzzing, and in one Eugene neighborhood they’re thriving, thanks to the neighbors like Beth Little. There’s a bee hive is in her yard. While she’s not a beekeeper, her home is a host.

“They know me,” Little said.

She gives them water and food. More importantly, she’s provided a toxic-free environment. A year ago, she signed the Healthy Bees, Healthy Garden Pledge and enlisted her neighbors, which was not an easy task.

“Intimidating, maybe. But kind of exciting, too and I started to knock on doors,” Little said.

She recruited her entire block to sign the honey bee pledge. She also went to city council. The city agreed not to use pesticides on the property bordering hers.

Jen and Doug Hornaday started the Healthy Bees, Healthy Gardens program last year. They put honey boxes in three neighborhood that took pledge. They’re about to to add another three neighborhoods this year. Entire blocks are agreeing not to use pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Plus they provide bees with food.

“The idea is if I’m planting a vegetable garden, I’m thinking about what I am going to eat. Now we are trying to transition into, how can we work together to figure out what we can plant for the bees so they can eat and survive,” Jennifer Hornaday said.

They’re putting in plants so bees have pollinators. Host homes like Beth Little’s receive a portion of the honey produced.

These bees have flourished. They survived winter, and it looks like they could soon swarm. A swarm catcher is up to entice them and it’s ready to be moved to another bee-friendly neighborhood.

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